Even when I'm not keeping up with the running, I still like to read the Runner's World that I get in the mail. It makes me feel like a professional athlete, and I like to believe that the mailman is impressed with my magazine choice. Perhaps he wonders what kind of hot, athletic girl I am. But sometimes I find that Runner's World is inaccessible for the beginning runner. Sure, I enjoy articles on health and how to get a better mile, but I'd also like to some articles on how to even run a mile.
Let's face it, Runner's World has a target audience, and I believe that target audience is runners who aim to run upwards of thirty miles a week and who train religiously for marathons, and the newest form of masochism, the ultra-marathon. But what about the rest of us? Those who are struggling to establish a running routine or those who are working toward 5 or 10ks, don't we deserve a publication as well?
So here's what I would do if I ran "Non-Runner's World":
1. I would totally re-vamp all the pictures and use some everyday looking people, not the models or super-duper tri-athletes they currently scrape up out of nowhere (seriously, where do all these people come from?); no, I don't want trim, fit looking women in their state-of-the-art sports bras and stretchy shorts -- which aren't as form fitting as you are led to believe by those pictures, mine hike themselves into my nether regions and make running a little difficult. I want all ages of men and women in their sweat pants and too large t-shirts and sports bras that are running threadbare on the sides. I also want to see running shoes with grass stains, paint splatter, and lizard guts. I don't want abs of steel, I want to see a little of that spare tire hanging out over the sides, and I definitely want to see how normal people look in those stretchy shorts (just to confirm that I'm not a genetic freak; you know, the only one they look terrible on).
2. No more action shots of runners with their MP3 players perfectly poised on their toned biceps, earplugs in place. Instead, I want to see a picture of an actual runner sweating and struggling to keep that one damned earpiece in (the one that keeps flopping out onto your shoulder) and is either tugging on the fucking armband strap to pull it up or to loosen it so that they can get some blood flow back to their brain. I mean, I love to listen to my music when I run, but between the fact that my earplugs literally have a 12 inch discrepency in cord length and that my arm strap digs into my plump flesh or else just sags into my forearm, I usually end up leaving the thing at home rather than fight with it all the way. I have enough to fight with while I run (refer back to my comment about those motherfuckers, the stretchy shorts).
3. Also, I want an end to success stories. Sure, I know they're inspiring and crap, but I'd like a few more stories about people who feel like they hate running. I need to read stories about people who thought they might die of exhaustion, or who threw up, or who were almost run down by a busload of old people. I want stories about the clouds parting and rain falling in torential sheets, but just on your running route. I want stories about carloads of hooting teenagers and stationary construction workers (they, appartently, like the stretchy shorts). I want tripping, slipping and falling stories -- I want to hear about the bruises and see the scars from the rocks that are still embedded under the skin. I want stories about salespeople at the running store who lift their one trick eyebrow in mocking condecension when you request a watch to record your times or when you ask if they have any shoes for your child-like feet. And dammit, I want stories about the people who come in last place in a race, or else had to sprint the last hundred yards just to tie with an 80 year old man who walked most of the way. I want stories of failure and half-assessed attempts at success. I want running as I see it when I pass by store windows: It's not pretty.
4. Lastly, my final change in my new periodical. I want to know what kind of drugs will help give me more energy and run longer and faster. I know, I know, the real Runner's World does not promote the use of any kind of stimulant (blah, blah, blah), but I want to know what I need to really get out there and be the speeding bullet I know I can be. Do I need a little speed? Heroin? Cocaine? Can I use some old-fashioned caffeine or perhaps an anabolic steroid? What will do the trick? Because I'm tired of reading about how running in and of itself will give you more energy, or how eating healthy will give you a lift. I want to know the dirty little secrets of the real runners. C'mon, give us the scoop. (I was listening to someone who was telling me that she didn't like to put "poisons into her body" -- mind you she was eating a cream filled donut from Dunkin Donuts while she said this -- and said she didn't even like to take Tylenol. My response? Repressed laughter and finger pointing. Who doesn't need some toxins? Fuck, load me up. The green tea washes it all away anyway, right?)
So, these would be the basic changes to my new running magazine. Maybe the publishers of the real Runner's World will be willing to provide me with the funds to launch just such a magazine. Somehow I doubt it. Probably I'll have to underwrite it myself as well as publish it from my basement. Will you buy a copy?